Tinnitus describes noises with no external source, in the head and/or the ears. The noise can be in one or both ears, can be low, medium or high pitched and may last for short or long periods of time. The type of noise and frequency can change depending on each individual.
Tinnitus is usually thought of as being a ringing noise, but it can also be experienced as other sounds such as:
Tinnitus is a surprisingly common condition; about 10% of the UK adult population suffers from permanent tinnitus. People of all ages can have tinnitus, including young children, but it is more common in older people.
Although not fully understood, tinnitus can be associated with:
• Hearing loss
• Exposure to loud noise
• Stress and anxiety
• Ear infections
• Reaction to certain food
The main symptom that you have tinnitus is if you start to hear noises such as ringing, buzzing or whistling in your ears that cannot be heard by other people. This noise may become more prominent when in quieter surroundings.
There are a variety of treatments for tinnitus including the provision of a sound generator or masker, or even a hearing aid if the condition is associated with a hearing loss. As a first step you should have your hearing and tinnitus assessed to determine the best method of treatment. This may include specialist counselling. There are also ways in which you can help yourself to deal with tinnitus:
• Keep active, as it is easier to forget about tinnitus when your mind is occupied
• Regular exercise helps people to ignore and cope with tinnitus as it helps with mental and physical well-being
• Relaxing can help you reduce the loudness of tinnitus and helps you to become indifferent to it
• Use sound to help disguise tinnitus. When there is no background noise tinnitus can be more noticeable because there is no noise to distract you. If your tinnitus is louder in a quiet environment, especially at night, it may help to have some sort of sound i.e. music or a clock, to help distract you from it.
• If accompanied by any hearing loss, hearing aids may well help
If you are worried that you may have tinnitus, you should make an appointment to have your hearing tested. The Hearing Aid Audiologist will discuss the results with you and advise on the most appropriate treatment. To book an appointment at your local branch click here.
Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care are a corporate member of the British Tinnitus Association which means we are able to offer the very latest treatment advice and guidance for our customers. For more information on our partnership click here.